And B2B buyers need help now more than ever – especially since the B2B buying journey is getting longer, with 45% of B2B buyers are doing more research before purchasing than they did last year, and 90% of execs spending over 2 hours a week reading thought leadership.
So it’s no surprise that Content Marketing is so popular – in fact, the highest performing B2B marketers are spending 40% of their budget on content marketing.
But that doesn’t mean they’re all doing it right.
Only 11% of marketers rate their organisation’s content marketing as ‘sophisticated’, which begs the question: how do you get into the 11%?
Here are some, simple data-backed changes you can make to bolster your content marketing approach:
• Define a vision: 61% of C-Suiters will spend more on brands with a clear vision, so work out what yours is before you write your next blog.
• Benchmark your content:Measure your performance and ROI against industry benchmarks so you can optimise as you go. For example:
If these numbers seem unrealistic, it might be worth reconsidering your current strategy.
• Stand out: 71% of execs think branded content is boring, expected and repetitive – so surprise them by being bold, challenging and unexpected.
• Get Specific: 97% of B2B Buyers prefer ‘prescriptive content’ (e.g. ‘7 tips for better budgeting) over foundational content (e.g. ‘Digital Transformation 101) or ‘conversational content’ (e.g. ‘Executive Q&A’)
• Show relevance: 79% of execs say they’re ‘much more likely’ to engage with ‘personalised’ thought leadership, so give consideration to the market, sector and role that you’re making content for.
• Bring people to you:3/4 marketers said inbound was better for ROI. Pushing your message out has its place, but don’t think that a bloated media budget will replace a good story well told.
• Publish more: Businesses that publish 11+ blog posts per month get 3.75x more leads than businesses that only publish 0-3 blog posts per month. Keep traffic constant by sticking to a regular publishing schedule.
• Make friends: B2B buyers are 10x more trusting of 3rd party content than vendor content, so work with content partners to boost your credibility and get your content seen and shared.
• Match content to the audience: Everyone has their preferred formats, so it’s worth knowing them so you can cater to your audiences:
• Go audio-visual: Video is expensive, but it lets you harness non-verbal cues that convey sincerity and help you to build trust with buyers.
Podcasts have gained huge traction in the consumer world, and they are now starting to appear more in B2B communications:
• Length matters: In 2014 the average blog post was 808 words, and has risen to 1151 in 2018 – even though 500-1000 is the ideal range for success. So when it comes to content writing, stick to the sweet spot.
Getting into the 11% of B2B marketers who have ‘sophisticated’ content marketing isn’t easy, but these tips are a good start for getting more from your budget and being seen by your buyers as a brand that can help.
If you’d like to know more about how we might give your content marketing a bit more zing, do get in touch.
~ This post is part of the Earnest Crunching the numbers series ~